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Bernalillo County

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BernCo Commission Passes Resolution to Support Enactment of Extreme Risk Laws for Firearms

01/29/2020
8:36 AM
Larry Gallegos, O (505) 468-1273, C (505) 228-6668 - lagallegos@bernco.gov

Bernalillo County – Bernalillo County Commissioners tonight passed a resolution calling upon the New Mexico State Legislature and the governor of New Mexico to enact and implement legislation allowing for the issuance of extreme risk firearm protection orders (ERPOs). These orders would authorize the temporary seizure of firearms and ammunition, under specific circumstances, from individuals with firsthand knowledge, based on a court’s determination that such individuals are a significant danger to themselves or others.

The resolution also asks that emergency orders may be requested from the district court by law enforcement officers and *ex parte orders by qualified petitioners.

In addition, the county is asking for one-year ERPOs, in which the respondent may not purchase or possess or receive firearms during a one-year period, and which may be extended by the court for good cause at the request of the petitioner.

“Hundreds of Americans have now been injured or killed by the lethal use of legally-owned firearms by individuals who have shown prior indicators or warning signs of extreme behavioral disorder,” says Commissioner Debbie O’Malley. “Our community is experiencing a crisis of behavioral health and substance abuse: those who recognize warning signs should be empowered to bring them forward and acted upon in the interest of the public, the individuals concerned and their families.”

“Seventeen other states have enacted such extreme risk laws that give family members and law enforcement a way to intervene before warning signs escalate into tragedies, including suicides, homicides and mass murders,” says Commissioner James Collie. “We propose that New Mexico be the 18th state to do so.”

The resolution passed on a 5 to 0 vote.

*An ex parte order is one that is made without the other party being made aware of it. Examples of ex parte orders include protecting a child or preventing personal injury. They are issued when immediate relief is needed and when scheduling a regular hearing and providing notice to the other party is not feasible.

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About Bernalillo County

Bernalillo County is 1,160 square miles and is New Mexico’s most populous county with more than 676,000 residents. Bernalillo County government provides a wide range of public services to residents who live in Albuquerque, Los Ranchos, and Tijeras and the 111,000 residents who live outside the village and city limits in the unincorporated areas of the county. Bernalillo County employs approximately 2,500 people and has an annual operating budget and capital investments of more than $650 million. Elected officials include five county commissioners, assessor, clerk, probate judge, sheriff, and treasurer.

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